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Hulu Munging HTML With JS To Protect Content

CmdrTaco posted about 5 years ago | from the escalating-arms-race dept.

Networking 281

N!NJA writes "Hulu has started encoding the html that they send to people's browsers, and then decoding it using javascript before rendering it. [...] They then run the character stream through a series of javascript functions to convert it back into plain text before pushing it into your browser using DHTML. That's quite a lot of effort just for fun, so I assume that is to stop screen scrapers from parsing content." I really can't understand all this effort. Boxee displayed the Hulu advertising perfectly. I suspect Alec Baldwin is to blame.

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281 comments

what do you expect? (5, Funny)

antibryce (124264) | about 5 years ago | (#27429063)

they're aliens. that's how they roll.

Re:what do you expect? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429359)

I for one welcome our HTML munging overlords.

Re:what do you expect? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429593)

I always knew there was something different about liberals.

Re:what do you expect? (3, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 5 years ago | (#27429943)

Sadly their marketing is so clever and hilarious I think it's making many of us forgive their stupid actions with regard to boxee and such.

I mean, come on. They're ALIENS.

Re:what do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27430243)

Just wondering... but wouldn't it be like mostly a day work to crack this... Like, firebug already allows you to see what you're really see-ing.

April Fools Day... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429107)

...ended at midday yesterday. Though I have to admit that this is far funnier than the "stories" that Slashdot ran at the time.

Cat & Mouse. (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#27429145)

The XBMC guys already made a plugin [lifehacker.com] after the last hulu change. It'll take a few hours and a new one will be made.

Especially if you SEND the user all the info they need, how hard is it to decode functions? There are crackers out there that take decoded assembly to figure out how to bypass DRM, what makes Hulu think their implementation will be any more difficult?

Re:Cat & Mouse. (5, Funny)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | about 5 years ago | (#27429163)

a marketing major or MBA course. that's what makes them think it'll be more dificult.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (5, Insightful)

koterica (981373) | about 5 years ago | (#27429473)

This is modded as funny, but it is rather insightful. The people who make business decisions (or what they think are business decisions) don't necessarily understand the things they are messing with. In this case, they obfuscate because they are worried about people pirating content.

Honestly? Hulu is a great service (if you live in the US) but its not a high priority target for piracy. Why go to the effort of ripping a stream with ads in it when the torrent is already out?

Re:Cat & Mouse. (4, Informative)

tweek (18111) | about 5 years ago | (#27429767)

It has nothing to do with piracy. It has to do with revenue from cable company contracts. The problem the "content providers" had was that via Boxee and other set-top pcs, people could forgo cable all-together and that would be a huge chunk of lost revenue. Hulu is popular but the ad revenue from Hulu is nothing compared to the money the cable companies pay "content providers".

* I quote "content providers" because Hulu liked to use that phrase when Boxee was shut out. The fact of the matter is that Hulu is co-owned by two of these "content providers" so in essence, Hulu *IS* the "content provider"

Re:Cat & Mouse. (1)

hduff (570443) | about 5 years ago | (#27430131)

This is modded as funny, but it is rather insightful. The people who make business decisions (or what they think are business decisions) don't necessarily understand the things they are messing with.

They absolutely misunderstood. Remember the I-Opener? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-Opener [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cat & Mouse. (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 years ago | (#27429501)

Trust me, Marketing Majors and MBAs do make everything harder...

Re:Cat & Mouse. (4, Insightful)

fprintf (82740) | about 5 years ago | (#27429653)

No, trust me, the freakin' programmers and IT people make it impossible. All us MBAs want to do is output a freakin graph, and you put us through all kinds of process steps, and gates and usability testing, and then decide it will cost $1Million just to make a simple change. No wonder nothing gets done without a multi million dollar budget.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#27429217)

It's probably more targeting people like me. I've already considered writing an app to scrape the pages, and download ALL their movies to a large hard drive or two.

I'm sure it's on a lot of other people's minds too with similar skills.

I do that from time to time for web archives of images too. Curse that 1000 hit limit on images.google.com!

Re:Cat & Mouse. (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27429265)

Isn't it nice knowing that we evolved from rats?

Do you really believe that all of this content is going to get less available over time? Note that this would essentially contradict all of history.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (2, Interesting)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | about 5 years ago | (#27429805)

Do you really believe that all of this content is going to get less available over time?

What about if your internet goes out and there's jack-crap on TV? Oh look, a HDD full of episodes/movies/whatever. Or.. well this one doesn't apply in this case, as Hulu is US only, but for people with low bandwidth/download quotas, streaming is a total waste. Hell, if I was to stream something, I'd nab a copy of it, just so I didn't feel I was wasting my quota.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (5, Insightful)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 5 years ago | (#27430033)

Do you really believe that all of this content is going to get less available over time? Note that this would essentially contradict all of history.

Yeah, don't bother making copies of those documents at the Great Library of Alexandria.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (2, Informative)

illumin8 (148082) | about 5 years ago | (#27430255)

Do you really believe that all of this content is going to get less available over time? Note that this would essentially contradict all of history.

Actually, yes. Because Hulu is controlled by content owners, who seem to want to create tons of content and then keep honest viewers from ever watching it (see Fox scheduling sci-fi shows during the worst possible time slots), there have already been a lot of cases of Hulu removing content. The show It's Always Sunny in PA was pulled from Hulu by the content owners. Also, most shows only show a few episodes from the latest season, and when the season is over and a new season starts, the old seasons are removed.

There are a number of reasons why it might be nice to have an archival copy of the shows available on Hulu. Personally, I prefer to use a combination of Netflix + Handbrake/MetaX + iTunes + AppleTV for my video archival and streaming purposes. I get great quality with DVD rips encoded in H.264, and a nice menu system with cover art and tagging (thanks to MetaX) that works beautifully on my HDTV through the AppleTV. It's also a system so brain dead simple that normal people can use it.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (4, Insightful)

jnetsurfer (637137) | about 5 years ago | (#27429419)

Even still, if they're using javascript to decode the HTML, they're not really protecting themselves. Your app can just run their javascript and still work perfectly.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (2, Funny)

Foolicious (895952) | about 5 years ago | (#27429915)

I do that from time to time for PORN too. Curse that 1000 hit limit on images.google.com!

There you go. Fixed that for you.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (2, Informative)

pionzypher (886253) | about 5 years ago | (#27429247)

They've already worked around it.

In the OP link: 2.6.7: Changed Hulu code to deal with their new encoding of web pages. Note, this slows it down a fair bit, so UK-only users are advised to do a custom install to turn off US.

It's all about the DMCA (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429535)

If you do decrypt it without authorization, they can claim you're in violation. It's not about the technical merits of their solution, it's about the legal aspect.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429561)

Not more difficult, just more annyoing. I for one would much rather read assembly than javascript :p

Re:Cat & Mouse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429611)

"There are crackers out there that take decoded assembly to figure out how to bypass DRM, what makes Hulu think their implementation will be any more difficult?"

Oh, that's easy: severe lack of communication between management and technical staff.

Doesn't bode well for the future of Hulu, does it? Sell stock now.

Re:Cat & Mouse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429981)

Now that it's "protected", any attempts to bypass that protection is a violation of the DMCA.

So, the team that develops the new plugin will have to reside outside of the US.

Don't they want people to use Hulu? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429161)

I mean, the alternative here is to use torrents. Why would Hulu (or their corporate overlords) want to make it difficult to use Hulu, when it's already just as easy to download the show and play it in whatever media center thingamajig I want with no ads?

Re:Don't they want people to use Hulu? (5, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 5 years ago | (#27429203)

They *want* you to go back to watching regular TV, where the ad revenue is greatest.

Re:Don't they want people to use Hulu? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#27429323)

They *want* you to go back to watching regular TV, where the ad revenue is greatest.

As you probably know, that cat's not going back into the bag. I wonder whether the inability to admit this and work with it is a special trait of media companies or if it's just true of large organizations in general?

Dumb question here (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 5 years ago | (#27429167)

Couldn't an enterprising screen-scraper also just run it through the same Javascript code? Hulu is forgetting what I like to call the Fundamental Law of DRM: if you make data possible for users to see /hear, it will be possible for a reasonably enterprising user to copy it.

Re:Dumb question here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429383)

This, this right here.

Then said person makes tools for others.
Such as say, oh, DownloadHelper, DTA to an extent, youtube downloaders, etc.
Hell, you can download youtubes with the address bar and a little chunk of code easily enough.

Re:Dumb question here (5, Informative)

ynef (995695) | about 5 years ago | (#27429423)

Yes, in fact, HtmlUnit [sourceforge.net] is my preferred browser simulation library in Java for this very reason: it allows you to write very easy to understand Java code, and it uses Rhino [mozilla.org] as a JavaScript interpreter. Completely brilliant, and yet few people know about it.

Re:Dumb question here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27430179)

huh, and here I'd been using it for unit testing...

Re:Dumb question here (5, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about 5 years ago | (#27429425)

Couldn't an enterprising screen-scraper also just run it through the same Javascript code? Hulu is forgetting what I like to call the Fundamental Law of DRM: if you make data possible for users to see /hear, it will be possible for a reasonably enterprising user to copy it.

Sure. Except, crappy as the Javascript "encryption" is, now you're in violation of the DMCA by reverse engineering a copy protection mechanism.

Re:Dumb question here (4, Funny)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | about 5 years ago | (#27429505)

only if the decoder is american though.

EUCD is the EU variant of DMCA since 2001 (3, Interesting)

emj (15659) | about 5 years ago | (#27430097)

EUCD [wikipedia.org] is the EU version, if DVD Jon would have been trialed in the EU it would have been interesting. Because I find it very hard to believe that anyone will ever get convicted for circumventing protection mechanisms, if it wasn't with malicious intent, or for monetary gain.

Re:Dumb question here (5, Insightful)

jnetsurfer (637137) | about 5 years ago | (#27429511)

But you're not reverse engineering. They're sending you their code, you're just running it!

Re:Dumb question here (2, Interesting)

swilver (617741) | about 5 years ago | (#27429815)

No, you just run their javascript, the way it was intended to be. There's no reverse engineering involved. If they were smart (Hulu), they'd send different decoding function each time making it not possible to just recreate their function... if doing any of this can be considered smart.

Re:Dumb question here (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#27429429)

Couldn't an enterprising screen-scraper also just run it through the same Javascript code? Hulu is forgetting what I like to call the Fundamental Law of DRM: if you make data possible for users to see /hear, it will be possible for a reasonably enterprising user to copy it.

I think you left some of that Fundamental Law unstated. This is an approximation of the full version:

If you make data possible for users to see/hear, it will be possible for a reasonably enterprising user to copy it. Only one such user is needed to make a DRM-free (and ad-free) version available via BitTorrent. Meanwhile, you stand to annoy all of your legitimate/paying/ad-watching users, especially if they understand this Fundamental Law and/or your assumption of bad faith.

Re:Dumb question here (2, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 5 years ago | (#27429699)

Yes. To me, this is just like those JavaScript "password" scripts people used to make, and about as ignorant to the way client-side code works.

I almost want to say some web designer sold this "security" to Hulu as a joke.

Phase One is Over (5, Informative)

wonkavader (605434) | about 5 years ago | (#27429169)

TunerFreeMCE couldn't scrape the data. Mission accomplished. Oh, wait... Tada:

"Update- version 2.6.7 is now available to download to work round this new tactic."

And now, I supposed, there will be a DMCA attack as phase two.

Re:Phase One is Over (3, Interesting)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | about 5 years ago | (#27429261)

And now, I supposed, there will be a DMCA attack as phase two.

That's really interesting. According to Wikipedia: "The DMCA criminalizes the circumvention of access control".

Can obfuscated HTML & JavaScript really be considered access control?? I sure hope not.

If it is, then what's the difference between obfuscated code and horribly written code thats difficult to understand? Or code thats been run through a minifier to make it smaller?

Re:Phase One is Over (5, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#27429319)

I sure hope not.

If it is, then what's the difference between obfuscated code and horribly written code thats difficult to understand? Or code thats been run through a minifier to make it smaller?

So you mean all Perl!??

Re:Phase One is Over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429641)

$_ = "\x3C\x3C\x45\x4F\x54"; s/EOT/EOT/e; print;

(prints "Just another Perl Hacker", although don't bother trying to figure out how, since by breaking the DMCA you'll get to meet my nice lawyers.)

Go back to your python scripting, foul demon!

Re:Phase One is Over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429697)

I know pirates will do just that: Continue to Pirate but seriously, please don't ruin what hulu and joost are trying to offer with your self-important crusade.

These venues are the next level of TV and I don't want them to get worse. I love that it is easy for me to find exactly what I want to watch without turning on a TV and just letting the stream take over my mind. This kind of thing is exactly what I will accept Ads for.

If you "people" ruin this FREE offering, it will push them to put more crap ads into the stuff I actually pay for.

Let it be. Don't ruin it. Appreciate it for what it is: Internet TV. Don't make it into a DRM war because it's not: You haven't bought anything.

haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429185)

anal sex wont do anything but make your dick stink

Re:haha (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429621)

anal sex wont do anything but make your dick stink

Troll? Srsly? This should be +5 informative!

preventing content injection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429187)

There are a number of ISPs that modify HTML which passes through them, inserting their own ads etc. Maybe they are trying to prevent this? Seems quite an effective approach..

Can you blame them? (3, Insightful)

g0es (614709) | about 5 years ago | (#27429189)

I'm all for boxee, but if they wanted aggregates to link to their content I would think hulu would have provided an API to allow it. Maybe instead of trying to work around every change hulu makes they should work with them instead.

Re:Can you blame them? (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#27429237)

I'm all for boxee, but if they wanted aggregates to link to their content I would think hulu would have provided an API to allow it. Maybe instead of trying to work around every change hulu makes they should work with them instead.

Hulu wants nothing to do with them and would rather they go away. They want to be able to release this stuff, but control it at the same time.

Re:Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27430025)

Hulu LIKES Boxee, and would like nothing more than to let Boxee do what they were doing. If for no other reason than it's one more source of ad revenue.

Hulu's content providers, on the other hand, see it as eating into THEIR revenue stream. If you're watching it on TV, they want you watching it on THEIR schedule with THEIR ads, because they get more money that way.

Hulu's just caught in the middle.

Re:Can you blame them? (5, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | about 5 years ago | (#27429267)

> if they wanted aggregates to link to their content I would think hulu would have provided an API to allow it.

They did. It's called the hypertext transfer protocol.

Re:Can you blame them? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429529)

Absolutely.

It's been cute these last 10 years watching companies try to put things on the Internet and monopolize the information they put up. If you don't require user authentication, it's public.

If you want to piggy back in a web browser, with a public protocol like HTTP, expect people to interact with your server in unintended ways.

The only way to prevent this is to invent your own propietary protocol, and your own client. And even this doesn't prevent reverse-engineering of the protocol to gain access.

Re:Can you blame them? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 5 years ago | (#27429493)

Well they did. It is called HTML. Boxee in this case is just another type of browser.
What I find odd is Hulu has no problem with me watching it with a browser. For some reason they see a difference between a Monitor and an HDTV. It is odd since my PC has an HDMI out.
What scares them to death is that people might/are dropping cable and watching over the net now.
My wife is toying with the idea but Iron Chief Japan and Football keep her from making the jump.

Huh? (3, Informative)

AlterRNow (1215236) | about 5 years ago | (#27429219)

My father gave me some HTML that was decoded with Javascript. To get the raw HTML was pretty simple IIRC..

1) Load page in Firefox
2) Open DOM explorer/inspector
3) Export as HTML
4) ???
5) PROFIT!!

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 5 years ago | (#27429521)

The particular situation here deals with compressed/encoded HTML in an effort to prevent screen-scraping. This leaves two options for screen scrapers:

Option 1
1) Figure out how the decoder works
2) Replicate the decoder functionality in the screen scraper
3) Parse the decoded HTML
4) Make changes as the encoding scheme changes
5) ???
6) Profit!

Option 2
1) Link a Javascript engine like SpiderMonkey, Rhino, V8, or SquirrelFish into the screen scraper
2) Run the Javascript to decode the HTML
3) Parse the decoded HTML
4) ???
5) Profit!

As Long As It Works With Linux (4, Insightful)

Prototerm (762512) | about 5 years ago | (#27429255)

As long as Hulu continues to work with a Linux-based browser, I'm happy. This is unlike ABC, whose system doesn't support Linux at all.

Their loss (or perhaps I should say "They're Lost").

Re:As Long As It Works With Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429421)

Hulu is trying there best to be as cool as EA here, but ABC takes the cake on messing this up. You are playing a movie in flash. We've mastered this. We mastered this because the people who can do it now are the same people that can defeat your ridiculous control techniques. It is a vicious cycle of stupidity.

Just let me watch Lost please. Can't a guy use linux and still enjoy Lost. I think so. I'll watch the commercials, I promise.

I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfectly (3, Interesting)

Papabryd (592535) | about 5 years ago | (#27429263)

...On a TV. Where ad rights, restrictions, and most importantly prices are much different than they are on the web. Hulu's (well really Fox/NBC's) bean counters won't let that fly especially when they can get roughly 7 minutes of ad space on a broadcasted show versus 2 minutes on Hulu. I'd be willing to bet that the prices for those 2 minutes on Hulu are a lot cheaper than 2 minutes on TV for an equivalent show.

And to anyone complaining about having to dance through proxies to watch Hulu internationally, it's for the same reasons. What benefit does Charmin see from advertising toilet paper to people in the Netherlands?

All that aside, as someone who has a modded XBOX with XBMC and was living abroad,I can say with experience that all these shenanigans are tiring. Like any arms race where it's content producers vs. the internet, the internet will win in the end.

Re:I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfec (1)

iainl (136759) | about 5 years ago | (#27429459)

God only knows what they're likely to do when they find out my TV has a vGA input on it, in that case. That's probably cirmventing DMCA protection right there.

Re:I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfec (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429465)

It's not just about the advertising. Their goal is to prop up the distinction between watching something on your TV and computer; if you're going to watch it on your TV, they want you watching from the TV networks it came from and not the theoretically inferior Internet. Unfortunately the distinction in the displays themselves continues to blur into nothing, so all they have left to maintain it is the interface, which they're doing their best to make as home theater remote driven unfriendly as possible.

Re:I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfec (1)

MrMarket (983874) | about 5 years ago | (#27429985)

There already is a distinction between TV and computer: Hulu is a lower resolution. I watch Hulu on my computer... which is hooked up to my 40" HDTV. It's just as easy to surf to the site from your couch with a nice wireless keyboard, but given the option, I'd rather see an episode on network TV, because it looks a lot better.

Re:I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfec (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#27429475)

These guys do understand that nothing prevents me from plugging my laptop into a TV and running a browser on it? And nothing prevents me from plugging a tuner card into my computer and showing TV on the monitor? So regardless of what they do, they can't make something show on a computer but not on a TV?

Wait a minute, my assistant is handing me an envelope he says will explain everything.

(envelope opening noises)

The note inside says "They're total idiots".

Yep, that does explain everything.

I can't understand...Content not available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429557)

"Like any arms race where it's content producers vs. the internet, the internet will win in the end."

*puts content back in the vault*

You were saying?

Re:I can't understand...Boxee displayed ads perfec (4, Insightful)

MrMarket (983874) | about 5 years ago | (#27429727)

And to anyone complaining about having to dance through proxies to watch Hulu internationally, it's for the same reasons. What benefit does Charmin see from advertising toilet paper to people in the Netherlands?

This is where the MBA and Marketing guys are falling down on the job. They should be selling regional ads for international viewers... instead of Charmin, they could sell Nokia ads for Dutch viewers, Weetabix in the UK, and Nutella in Italy, etc...

Content Providers' Demands? (3, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | about 5 years ago | (#27429279)

Maybe they are just doing this to sate the content providers. As long as they appear to be trying to solve the problem, they should get brownie points with the major companies. Considering how popular DRM seems to be with the execs, I'll bet they think this works just as "well".

Re:Content Providers' Demands? (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27429361)

Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal and Fox Entertainment Group. The Hulu management might not precisely be content providers, but the folks holding the purse are.

Peter's Law of Obfuscation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429307)

The more complicated your technique of hiding data, the more interested a hacker becomes in breaking it.

Ad revenue on TV Ad revenue on Hulu (3, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | about 5 years ago | (#27429385)

Hulu is owned by Fox/NBC, and they are trying to attract other content providers.

Simply put, the ad revenue on Hulu is much, much less than on TV. Sure, it beats piracy (a little money and control over how long your content is on there) but if people were to cancel cable or watch Hulu on their Xboxes more, both cable/satellite providers and the content providers themselves would be unhappy.

Just another game of cat & mouse: Hulu makes changes, and Boxee updates. The hope is that if you make the workarounds unreliable enough to the point where people are too irritated, most will switch back to TV, with a few using Hulu just online on their computers and a few turning back to piracy.

I really don't get this... (3, Insightful)

paralaxcreations (981218) | about 5 years ago | (#27429393)

Why all the effort to apply DRM to free streaming content? Is it just because the networks think that everything needs to have DRM?

Munging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429409)

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=munging ?
(not work safe)

Easy Workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429411)

Just send the encoded page to Mozilla Rhino using their own JS functions, and then scrap the decoded page... Seen that before... done that before.

Just More Proof... (2, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | about 5 years ago | (#27429445)

This is just more proof that the people who run the big media companies not only do not understand technology, but cannot be bothered to learn it either. If they did, they would realize that DRM is ultimately a futile effort because the end user has to have everything they need in order to decode the content. That means that someone who wants to decode the content to display it in some other unapproved manner, also has everything they need to do it. I'll assume that the technical people/aliens at Hulu know this too and are only doing what the content providers are demanding.

Site modding ponderings ... (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 years ago | (#27429491)

"I really can't understand all this effort. Boxee displayed the Hulu advertising perfectly. I suspect Alec Baldwin is to blame. "

I used to wonder why you cannot mod a Slashdot editor's comment "Funny", but now I see that it would be an unused feature ;-)

Brand dilution guys.... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | about 5 years ago | (#27429523)

Hulu is a BRAND. It wants to live in its own world and be exclusive.

So their attitude is "Frak Boxie", as boxie is trying to DESTROY the brand of all the video sites to be replaced by the Boxee brand.

Why should Hulu play nice?

Re:Brand dilution guys.... (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 years ago | (#27429753)

They are being knuckleheads. Their "website" is analogous to a traditional TV channel and Boxee is analogous to a set-top cable box. You'd still get the Hulu ads, still get the Hulu branding.

To be fair, it seems like Hulu would very much like to be on Boxee - the distaste of the content providers' policies is palpable on their blog.

Re:Brand dilution guys.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429795)

Except, of course, that all Hulu content (that I have seen) displays the little Hulu logo in the corner of the screen. My guess is that Boxee doesn't prevent this.

Re:Brand dilution guys.... (1)

woodrad (1091201) | about 5 years ago | (#27430081)

Their apparent hostility to the users of their service is likely a bigger threat than even boxee could pose, if it indeed does pose one at all. When people use boxee, there is little doubt they are using boxee to watch Hulu. There is a logo on the screen, ads, and boxee tells you you're watching Hulu.Furthermore, if we are to take Hulu at their word, they wanted to provide their content to boxee users. See their blog post from when they started trying to block out boxee users here: http://blog.hulu.com/2009/2/18/doing-hard-things [hulu.com].

DMCA (1)

c (8461) | about 5 years ago | (#27429525)

Now that they're actually applying some form of DRM to the system, maybe they think they can hit Boxee up with a DMCA-based injunction.

I know, I know, it's a weak argument technically, but it's not like that's ever stopped the lawyers before.

c.

idiotic approach and easy to defeat (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429599)

Any developer worth his salt knows of the Firefox extension "Web developer" which comes with a "View generated source" button. So no matter how hard you try to hide your HTML, the browser still needs to see true HTML to render your page, which View generated source can do quite easily.

And for all the non-developer out there, if you use Firefox, you can make a selection of text (or better, CTRL-A), right click and choose view-source. It's the generated source you will see on selected text, not the original code provided by the server.

A

Is it for screen scrapers? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#27429615)

Won't this also prevent things like Phorm from modifying the ads? A screen scraper can just embed something like Gecko or WebKit and generate the DOM tree with the scripts, but something that needs to sit on a connection and do realtime packet modification like Phorm can't do that.

Since Hulu doesn't work outside the USA, I've never used it so I don't know if which is more likely, but if I had an ad-supported web site I wouldn't want carriers modifying my data in-flight, and this approach is a lot less computationally-expensive on the server side than using SSL without dedicated hardware.

You cannot prevent scraping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429665)

you cant prevent people from ripping off the content of any page on the internet.... if the browser can display it then... then its possible to scrape it.

alot of people try and use this strategy... unfortunately for the browser to render it properly.. the javascript must be enbedded in the page that will allow to decode it =/

Disabilities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429683)

How does this effect screen scrapers intended to help those with disabilities? Just because you're blind doesn't mean you don't want to listen to content. If this is interfering, isn't there a federal law this is breaking?

Add V8 to your screen scraper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27429739)

Come on, how hard is it to add a free, open Javascript engine to a screen scraper?

Sure, it won't be trivial, but it will probably be doable in fairly short notice for someone versed in the art.

Oh, wait, I just thought that it's unlikely that your bog standard screen scraper would parse a web page into a javascript accessible document model... *makes comment anonymous*

Fail (5, Funny)

Chlorine Trifluoride (1517149) | about 5 years ago | (#27429755)

This is not actually the worst web DRM. I once found a site where the top of the code had a comment that said "Source code not available" followed by a bunch of blank lines. In order to get the source, one just had to scroll down some.

Which, of course, would make the scroll bar an anti-circumvention device.

DOM capture (1)

S77IM (1371931) | about 5 years ago | (#27429855)

DHTML modifies the DOM. It shouldn't be hard at all to just let the Hulu response build itself normally (maybe in an iframe or in another window) and then capture the DOM afterwards. A coworker of mine implemented a feature using this technique just yesterday (although it was for DHTML considerably simpler than Hulu's).

  -- 77IM

English please? (1)

PHPNerd (1039992) | about 5 years ago | (#27429893)

Could someone explain what they're doing in a bit more of layman's terms? And then also, what the point of doing all of that is?

Re:English please? (1)

xsecrets (560261) | about 5 years ago | (#27430193)

If you don't understand this then you have no business with a name like PHPNerd. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of php would understand.

you can still fraps it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27430041)

put it in fullscreen, fraps it, then take the gigantic file you just made and use video editing software to change the size to make it portable

no cracking/hacking/time wasting involved

Just build your screen scrapers in Selenium... (1)

mengel (13619) | about 5 years ago | (#27430171)

...and you'll never have to worry about *how* the content gets on the page. Make the browser do it just like you would by hand, and scrape the content after it's all rendered. Encrypted, generated by javascript, whatever.
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